"Spiderman 2" assumed the events of the first film as common knowledge, and picked up a couple of years later. Peter Parker's life is all in disorder with him being unable to balance the demands of being a superhero with the demands of delivering pizza, taking photos for the Daily Bugle, attending college, and being supportive to his friend Mary Jane. He tries hard, but there's always hero work that's more important. The other story arc is that of Dr. Octavius, who lets his ego reach beyond his brilliance. He ends up being a victim of poorly thought-out technology, but in the process he really does a lot of nasty stuff. There's some great work in the film about the role of heroes, about solidarity in struggles, and about trusting those who we love. I think the director did an effective job with the story; it's a movie that's choc-full-of-plot, and there's some very scary visuals with the Doc Ock appendages. This is one to see in a theater with a really good sound system, for sure.
Michael Moore's opinion piece "Fahrenheit 9/11" was one of the most emotionally moving films I'd seen in a while. The first part of the film talks about the linkage between the players in the Bush administration and the ruling families of Saudi Arabia, including the Bin Ladin clan. There's a lot of circumstantial evidence here, and it's clear that the Bushes have benefited greatly from close ties with the Middle East, but this part wasn't really that shocking. I'm sure that similar stories could be told about any family with political power. The part that was so sad was the second half, where Moore spends a lot of time talking with the American troops that have been sent to Iraq and to their families. He shows how the military recruits a disproportionate number of children from the poorest parts of the US, and how those people who've already had to suffer so much now have to deal with the loss of their loved ones. I found it really effective when Moore interviewed a Marine who had been in Iraq and was refusing to return: "I don't want to go back and kill more poor people like me."
Two films: one talks about our need for heroes and shows a persons struggle to accept his calling; the other makes a compelling case that we shouldn't send our own heroes into harms way without justification, and that our current leadership isn't in a position to make decisions about the best interest of America due to their connections to the forces that benefit from conflict and war.
Followup (Sunday Morning): I'm also pointing to this criticism of F9/11. I just read through it, and while I don't agree with the entire work, I think there's a lot of well-justified points. I think this film is important as an opening argument in a debate; in fact, I'd love to see this released on DVD with commentary tracks that point out arguments that contradict the film or that talk about the nature of the editing choices made.
I'll write about my debate experience more in a future post.